ASK US WEDNESDAY: “My articles still haven’t been published – help!”

by Rachel Smith
12 June 2019

What do you do when you have been commissioned to write up stories, completed them six months ago, got paid  – and your articles still haven’t been published. Do you ask when they will run, or take the money and run? Anon

There was a time when I waited with bated breath for every word I’d written to get a run in print (or online). These days, with a lot of bylines under my belt and a lot of projects on the go, I’m more in the ‘take the money and run’ camp.

It is annoying though. I remember waiting over a year once for two travel stories to get a run and it drove me bonkers (because they paid on publication). That publication was on my blacklist after that!

I think you’re definitely within your rights to contact the editor and ask why your articles still haven’t been published and/or when they’re scheduled to run, especially if:

  • It’s highly topical / something that can go out of date
  • There was a PR or famil involved (super embarrassing for you if it’s not published, and could stop you getting offered future trips)
  • You interviewed a case study or expert for the piece and they’re itching to know what the heck is going on.

You’re probably also wondering, if they’ve decided not to run it, whether you can on-sell the idea elsewhere. You can’t if they’ve paid you in full. If they decide not to run a piece but pay you a kill fee, you’re usually free to shop it around but check with the commissioning editor as a courtesy.

Hope this helps and let us know what happens!

Listers: do you have articles that have run months or even years later? How do you approach this situation with editors?

Rachel Smith

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